August 24, 2016

"According to three scientists, Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren, and Assam El-Osta, Microsoft Excel has trouble converting gene names."

winbeta: "Inadvertent gene symbol conversion is problematic because these supplementary files are an important resource in the genomics community that are frequently reused. Our aim here is to raise awareness of the problem." by Dave Shanahan

'In the scientific article, titled “Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature,” article’s abstract section, the scientists explain: "The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions."

'These scientists didn’t have to write a scientific paper on the problems that Microsoft Excel causes. An easier fix would be “to raise awareness of the problem” via Excel UserVoice or reach out to the Excel team on Twitter for a faster response. It is a bit alarming that 20% of scientific papers have errors due to Excel, but it’s even more confusing that scientists don’t try to figure out a way to solve the problem.'

"Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature" by Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren, and Assam El-Osta here

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